Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

Sitting here watching the ball drop in New York on the television, I was thinking how very blessed my life is. I have a wonderful family who are all fairly healthy and many friends. I have two great kitties and a little dog who likes to cuddle like a baby. I look forward to the the country getting back on track and finding a job, along with the many other unemployed Americans.

I plan to get more organized in my life and look forward to the many changes I have planned. You see, I have a plan. A roadmap of sorts. I know I will succeed.

Whatever you have planned for the next year, I wish you joy and happiness, and of course success.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Did You Survive The Holidays?

It was a fast paced holiday season with craft shows, filling orders, restocking the shelves, and making soap. I found the time to wrap some gifts at the fair grounds for Project Santa, did some baking (oh, the crack candy at my house was awesome), had family dinners, and even read a book.

I love to make soap, it brings out the creative side of me. I like to wrap myself up in a scent and close my eyes and "see" the soap I am going to create. It is really cool when the soap turns out the way I "imagine" it.

While setting up at one of the holiday craft shows I found myself next to Katie Spencer. She is a wonder woman who used to sell to HUGE chain stores. She now sells her handmade items at Tumblewinds on Esmeralda St. in Minden. One item in her booth just fascinated me.

I love the origami feel to the ornament. I love the sharp angles. I love the bright colors. I just love these ornaments. Being the wonderful person that she is, Katie mailed the instructions and I made 11 ornaments to give as Christmas gifts.

Did I tell you I love making these ornaments?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Hold That Thought

You know, the one about not having much money. What to do, what to do.

I found myself with a little time, that would be because we are not exchanging gifts this year due to lack of funds. The real problem here is, I LOVE TO WRAP GIFTS. I found a way to get my wrapping fix without spending any money.

In our little town we not only have service clubs like the 20/30 Club, Elks, Minden Fortnightly Club, Rotary Club, Lions Club, Kiwanis, we also have all the schools hold food drives around the holidays. We have a food closet that runs year round helping those people that need a lift. But the best project of all.......

is Project Santa.

I meet up with Marilyn Malkmus, organizer of Project Santa. The program helps provide Christmas gifts to kids living in Douglas County. There are Angel Trees at many stores throughout the county, people can pick an Angel and buy the gifts listed and then drop them back off where Marilyn makes sure they go to the right family. There were 786 children in the program last year and she said there are 100 more than that this year. She directed me to the book wrapping station. Every child will receive at least 1 reading book but judging by the thousand of books I saw there will be no shortage of books. Marilyn has many helpers that volunteer every year, and the rest are like me. I went for 8 hours one day, but anyone can go, even if for one hour. I saw so many friends there and made some new ones, Hi Katie and Steve! I got my wrapping fix taken care of, that is for sure.

It was a great way to get into the spirit of Christmas. All the gifts wrapped and sitting on the family's number brought tears to my eyes. I remember a friend of mine who was in the program a couple of years ago. Her little boy would not have had anything under the tree, if they had a tree. The generosity of the community overwhelmed her and made her Christmas.

So...even if you don't have money to spend, you can spend your time by volunteering for one of the service organizations. It is a great way to give back to the community you live in.

Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I May Not Have Much Money, Handmade From The Heart

Every year the Parent Teacher Student Organization (PTSO) gets together and makes up gift bags for the teachers at Douglas High School. This year with both my husband and I being unemployed I was not able to pick up the usual gift items. Still wanting to do my part I looked around the soap room and found some 2 oz. bottles I don't use any more. So...I spent the day making 150 bottles of lotions for the teachers. I know many of them and I thank the Lord my dear daughter has such dedicated and knowledgeable people to teach her. It was an honor to be able to bring a little of my handmade items to them.

First I sterilized the bottles and caps.

Second, I whipped up some lotion and scented it with a spicy cranberry scent, perfect for men or women.

Third, I poured into the clean bottles, labeled and packed them up.

Thank you Teachers of Douglas High School.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Tis The Reason For The Season

Long, long ago, in a far away land, my mother and father labored over a task of love for their children, of which there are 5. How my mother got my dad to work on ceramics, I will never know. But I am so happy he did. This is a true labor of love and something my family treasures. We only see it once a year, but the memories and thoughts and good wishes it brings lasts the whole year.

Thank you, mom and dad.
I love you.

Friday, December 10, 2010

You Are Never Too Old To Learn

I have been a bit remiss in my postings. I let life get in the way. Here is a bit of what was happening in the Carson Valley. My orange painted toe nails did the trick. The Douglas High School Volleyball Team did not lose a league match this season. Yes, they won every match.

Including the Nevada 4A State Championship.

Our girls went out with a bang beating 2 teams from Las Vegas, Nevada, Bishop Gorman and Green Valley High Schools to win the title of Best Volleyball Team of the State of Nevada 2010.

It was very exciting and the result of many long hard hours of practice and conditioning. After all was said and done the league coaches pick "All League Teams". 7 of our girls made 1st team, 2nd team or honorable mention in their league. 1 girl made Player of the Year in our league.

What does that make the coach?

A coach much loved and respected. A coach who asks the girls to push it a little farther, work a little harder, but never asks more than she is willing to give. That makes the coach the COACH OF THE YEAR in our league. And she deserves it! Balancing home life, coach life, teaching life, girls, parents......quite a balancing act.

It was an incredible year. I learned a lot from these girls. Their work ethic will serve them well in their future. They made me realize I need to work a lot harder to reach my goals. That is why I am cleaning the computer room.

"Really?" says Tiger.

"What is all this stuff?"

More to follow later.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thank You

To my dad, my husband, my uncle on my dad's side, my two uncles on my mom's side, my brother, his wife, my other brother's wife, and my dear nephew for their selfless service to our country. Without people like you we would not enjoy the freedoms we have in this vast country. You give up so much of your lives to make this world a safer place, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Busy Couple Of Weeks

The last few weeks have been very busy for our family. My dear daughter is on the high school volleyball team. They just played in the Northern Regional Playoffs and took first place. Yea Team! In honor of this occasion (which last happened 8 years ago), and to show my support for the team while they play for the state championship, I painted my toenails. The school colors are orange and black so....

While waiting for my nails to dry I melted up a few oils and made this.

Right now it has wax paper on it to cut down on white ash. It is a wonderful fragrance call Kauai Ginger Blossom. You can get it here. Suz from Oregon Trails Soap Supply has some killer fragrances that soap beautifully. This is what it will look like tomorrow.

You can buy it here.

After putting the soap up I finished something I started last night. I found this wonderful, easy bread recipe from this site, Noshings. She has a great blog and her photos and recipes are to die for. And yes, she makes soap, too.
I made one loaf last night, just plain. This morning I added in a few extras.

Yum Yum Good!

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Long Time Ago

in a far away land (well, across town) I took and still am taking a SEO class from Cricket Walker. I learned a lot from Cricket and her very patient helpers. She is the reason I now blog. She is also the reason I gained 25 pounds in the last few years. Cricket introduced me to a blogger one day by saying "hey check out this blog!"

I fell in love with the writer's style and wicked sense of humor. And her husband looks great in a pair of chaps, sorry but I had to say that. The blog is The Pioneer Woman. I have been reading her blog for quite a few years, I remember when she only had 1,000 comments instead of 40,000 every time she ran a contest. Ree posts the funniest and saddest stories and fabulous recipes. I always get lots of compliments when I make one of her dishes.

While visiting my mom a couple of weeks ago I stopped by my sister and brother-in-law's house, to raid their garden. My BIL can grow some serious vegetables. I left with ALL of their tomatoes and a huge bag of these beautiful red jalapeno peppers.

So......I had to make Ree's Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Thingies. They are to die for and with the red peppers I used they are just as wonderful. Thank you Cricket, Ree and dear brother-in-law.

First you cut them in half. Taking care not to squirt any juice in your eye.

I then take a spoon and clean out all the seeds and veins. This is what makes the peppers hot. Next time I think I will leave a few seeds in to give them more heat.

Add a dollop of cream cheese.

Wrap in 1/3 slice of bacon. These are small peppers, for larger peppers I use 1/2 slice of bacon.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 1/2 hour.

Yum, Yum, YUM!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Every Once In A While.......

You meet a person who has the gift of giving. I don't mean they give you gifts. I mean they give of themselves. They share their passion, their knowledge, and their gift of giving.

I meet one such person through a soap making forum I belong to. I have learned so much from her blog. She does such intense research and provides an overload of information that you can't help but learn something.

Susan is a wealth of information about cosmetic chemistry. As she says, "often strange, occasionally useful, and always worth a stop as a point of interest on your journey through the Intertron." I have been enjoying my journey with her and share her obsession of crafts and the bath and beauty industry.

Now this person does not just give online. She also reaches out to children, and that is a subject near and dear to my heart. Her program is called "Rated T for Teen."
From their web page
"We provide different programs to youth at the Chilliwack and Yarrow Libraries (in Chilliwack, B.C., Canada) and most of the funding comes from the volunteers’ pockets. We offer craft groups to teens, tweens, and pregnant and parenting teens. We provide two card and board game clubs, two video game clubs, and a Japanese pop culture program, as well. We also offer parent-child crafting programs."

Part of her fundraising program has been the Aviva Community Fund Program. Here you can vote for her program to receive community assistance.

As part two of her fundraising plan, she put together a 122 page e-book entitled
"Back to Basics: Anhydrous Products."
" The book includes over 50 recipes and explanations for making lotion bars, whipped butters, balms, oil based scrubs, bath melts, bath oils, oil based sprays, solid scrubs, and facial sera, as well as all the carrier oil, exotic oil, and butter profiles and everything I've gathered about the chemistry of our oils including fatty acids, mechanisms of rancidity, phytosterols, and polyphenols."

For a $20.00 donation that all goes into the project you will recieve a e-book that you will be able to use for years. I am so excited for this opportunity to purchase this collection of facts and information AND to help her project to bring the wonderful world of crafting to their youth.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A New Opportunity

I went to Sacramento, CA this past weekend to watch my daughter's high school volleyball team compete in a tournament (They came in second place). It was a fun time hanging with my family on Friday night and all the girl's parents on Saturday during the games. They started at 8:30 am and played until 8 pm. A long day, but nice to know you can hang with the big schools. I heard several comments about "that Nevada team"!

My husband and I drove down Friday and stopped at Apple Hill, CA. I wanted to check out some sites for craft shows and some year round gift shops. We stopped at Jack Russel Brewing Co. located in the Sierra Foothills near the town of Camino.

Picture is from their web site and taken by Lisa Richmond Photography

I have been wanting to try making a beer soap for quite a while. I talked to the girl serving beer and she introduced me to Dave, the owner. He was kind enough to give me a six pack of his favorite beers to do a little R & D. I have 3 different types of beer open in the fridge and I am going to make 3 unscented batches and 3 batches of scented beers. What scents do you use in your beer soaps?

It's going to be fun around here! I should have all 6 batches done by the time I return to Sacramento in a couple of weeks and I am stopping by the brewery to drop off my samples for a little tasting session. I hope they love them and want to carry my soap in their gift shop. Once those beer drinkers see how wonderful beer soap lathers I know they will be buying my soap by the boatload!

Stay tuned for lots of pictures as I venture into the realm of "Beer Soap Making"! I'll be taking notes and lots of pictures on the scents and behavior of the different brews to see which holds up the best. I am hoping the Blueberry Beer does well!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

For A Good Cause

This is a picture of the Carson Valley from Kingsbury Grade, Hwy 207. Can you see my house? It's there on the left.

I love living in Nevada. I love the seasons, you know, winter and road work. Just kidding. I love the sun shining 337 days a year, the snow falling, the incredible sunsets,

the mountains, the wide open spaces, cattle being herded across a highway from one pasture to another, kids in rodeo, Lake Tahoe, and lets not forget, the wild horses that roam our valley.

Here in Gardnerville if you want to eat the produce from your garden, you had better put a fence around it. Horses run free in the BLM lands all around the Carson Valley. They are magnificent creatures, strong and proud. With our unpredictable weather and many drought years they sometimes need our help. That is where many of the organizations to promote and save our wild horses come in. I am doing a craft show sponsored by the Wild Horse And Burro Organization. I am a member of the Made In Nevada Program and we were offered spaces at the show. Made In Nevada is a nonprofit marketing cooperative consisting of small and large businesses throughout the state. They call Nevada home and through their efforts, contribute to the economic well-being of Nevadans in communities across the state.

The show is called the National Wild Horse Center WESTERN STATES WILD HORSE AND BURRO EXPO. It is held at the
Reno Livestock Events Center.
August 20-22, 2010
1350 N. Wells Ave 1721 Reno, NV 89512

From their web site
The Western States Wild Horse and Burro Expo has these objectives:

1. To promote the successful adoption of wild horses (mustangs) and burros who have been gathered from public lands:
A. To educate the public about wild horses and burros through entertainment, showcasing their many fine qualities
B. To improve the success rate of adoptions, by providing educational opportunities with top trainers
C. To provide an opportunity for Federal, State, and Local governmental organizations, as well as for private rescue groups, to offer their wild horses and burros for adoption to the public

2. To raise public appreciation for wild horses and burros - both in the wild and in captivity and/or domestication

3. To promote public acceptance and appreciation for Mustangs and Burros as breeds with strong merits

4. To provide a Showcase for successful owners, trainers, and adopters of formerly wild Mustangs and Burros

5. To provide a venue for people who love wild horses and burros to come together for fun, education, entertainment, sharing, and friendly competition

6. To raise funds to help support wild horse and burro rescue, advocacy, and preservation projects

7. To provide an educational and informational forum for non-profits and other groups who work in horse welfare, nature conservation, and other areas relating to wild horses and burros and the Adoption program.

I set up my table

and then stopped to watch a couple of gals in the arena. I walked down and asked if I could take a few pictures and got to talking. What else is new? The girls work at the Nevada B Ranch, owned by Steven Bourne. With the help of Sheri Avis, executive director, they have turned the ranch into a haven for horses that need a place to recuperate from starvation, illness, injuries or abandonment. The Nevada B Mustang Sanctuary has taken in 47 horses. I meet Kelly Lyon and Courtney Kemp.

Lets see if I can get this right. Kelly Lyon, a teacher with a degree in biology, trains horses and is chairman of the board of the Nevada Mustang Sanctuary. She is here with Kobe. He has only been ridden 35 or so times. He seemed very well mannered to me. Kelly was showing him the signs along the rail and letting him get used to the noises and size of the arena.

This is Courtney Kemp. She is a certified horse trainer with an extensive background in the handling of Mustang horses. She holds the secretary of the board position at the sanctuary. She is riding Sassy. Sassy only has 30 rides under her belt and she seemed very well behaved to me, too. They are from the Dann Shoshone Family that had their home taken away. The horses had gone to several places and ended up at the Nevada B Ranch.

I also stopped to talk to a few other people that were setting up at the show.

Horses for the Spirit from Reno, NV, is a charity dedicated to offering Equine Assisted Learning programs to youth in Washoe County. They teach positive life and social skills to primarily kids at risk of failing in traditional settings, but it is their dream and goal to serve all children in the community. Graduates of their programs have increased their skills in leadership, teamwork, problem solving, managing behavior and more.

The Center for Adaptive Riding specializes in lesson planning for individuals with physical, emotional, developmental or learning challenges. Adults or children diagnosed with Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Traumatic Brain Injury, Learning Disability or Multiple Sclerosis can enjoy the out of doors while working with the horses, volunteers, staff and other riders. Brain neuropathways are activated and stimulated while the students brush, feed, lead or ride the horses, helping with balance and body awareness. They are located in Washoe Valley, Nevada.

I also saw a very cool vendor booth, Nancy's Horse Blanket Laundry and Repair. Stop by and see everyone if you are going to the show!

I will be taking more pictures tomorrow, so come on back!

This is the way I set up my soaps this time. Do you like it? I always wrap the soap before a show and then you can't see how cool they look, so.... I thought I would leave one unwrapped.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I Confess, I Am A Scent-A-Holic

I have always loved scents. This is Chai fresh out of the pot. I think the nose and how it works is a fascinating thing. When I first ventured into the soap making addiction I scented with a few Essential Oils.

Ok, maybe more than a few Essential Oils.

I joined a few soap making forums. I sold soap in a few craft shows. Everywhere I looked people were talking about scents. On the forums fragrance oil suppliers were advertising the latest popular fragrances. At my craft shows at least one person would come up to me and ask "Do you have ****** scent." I have very little will power. I had to try this blend, then this blend.....Before I knew it I was carrying over 70 different scents of soaps.

The past few years I have been trying to cut back and just carry the best sellers, and my personal favorites.It has been a hard job, but I am down to only 40 different scents.

My biggest problem now is what do you do with all the bottles?

I have great suppliers that ship with great care. Scent Oils are best kept in dark glass to protect them from the light and other elements. I have enough dark bottles to transfer any oils I get in larger containers. Does anyone need any 2, 4, 8, and 16ounce bottles?

Ummm, yum, Kauai Ginger Blossom.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

My Lucky Day

17 years ago on a Friday the 13th I was blessed with a dear daughter. I had been trying to have a child for 10 years and as I approached 40 I was starting to panic big time. I had 2 miscarriages and my dreams for having a big family never seemed farther away. I never stopped praying and in the early hours my dreams came true and I delivered a baby girl.

My mom always told me "You will never know how much I love you until you have a daughter of your own." And boy, was she right.

I loved you the minute I knew I was pregnant. I loved you the minute you were born. Then I saw your face and fell in love some more. You were only a minute old but I knew I would die for you & to this day I still would.

Happy Birthday my sweet, sweet daughter.

I am going to make her some of these cookies from Tartelette. Yummy.

Other things that happened this day were:

1966 The Beatles
Unhappy with John Lennon's comments comparing the Beatles to Jesus, radio station KLUE in Longview, Texas organizes a Beatles Bonfire. Later that night, the station was struck by lightning. The station manager was knocked unconscious and the station had to temporarily shut down due to damaged equipment.

1965 Jefferson Airplane makes their first professional appearance, at the Matrix Club in San Francisco.

1961 Berlin Wall
East German Communists begin building a wall through the city to prevent the flow of people seeking the freedoms of the West.

1930 National Beet Grower's Association is incorporated.

1898 Spanish-American War
Fighting ends when the Philippines surrender to Admiral George Dewey.

1782 First Welsh immigrants to America arrive in Pennsylvania. They were Quakers and settled near Philadelphia. Source: An Almanac of the Christian Church

1587 First American Indian converted to Protestantism is baptized into the Church of England.

1959 Danny Bonaduce American actor, radio deejay. TV: The Partridge Family (Danny).

1951 Dan Fogelberg American singer. Music: Longer (1979, #2) and Leader of the Band (1982).

1930 Don Ho d. 2007 (Donald Tai Loy Ho), Hawaiian singer. Music: Tiny Bubbles (1966, #8). TV: The Don Ho Show (1976-77).

1929 Pat Harrington Jr American Emmy-winning actor. TV: The Jack Paar Show (Guido Panzini) and One Day at a Time (handyman Dwayne Schneider).

1926 Fidel Castro Cuban president. He was so opposed to capitalism that after conquering Cuba he ordered the destruction of all Monopoly games on the island.

1921 Neville Brand d. 1992 actor. TV: Laredo (Ranger Reese Bennett) and The Untouchables (Al Capone).

1919 Rex Humbard d. 2007 American televangelist, founder of the Cathedral of Tomorrow (1952). He was the first televangelist to have a nationally-broadcast TV show (1952). Source: An Almanac of the Christian Church

1899 Sir Alfred Hitchcock d. 1980 British Oscar-winning director, "The Master of Suspense." Film: Vertigo (1958) and Psycho (1960, with its famous shower scene). TV: Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955-62). Quote: "Television has brought murder back into the home - where it belongs."

1897 Detlev Wulf Bronk d. 1975 American scientist, educator, "Father of Biophysics." He served as president of Johns Hopkins University (1949-53).

1895 Bert Lahr d. 1967 (Irving Lahrheim), American actor. Film: The Wizard of Oz (1939, the Cowardly Lion).

1888 John Logie Baird d. 1946 Scottish inventor, "Father of the Television." He gave the first demonstration of true TV in London (1926) and later patented a 3-D TV system (1944).

1860 Annie Oakley d. 1926 (Phoebe Anne Oakley Mozee), American western performer, member of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.

1818 Lucy Stone d. 1893 American woman's rights activist, abolitionist. She and her husband founded Woman's Journal (1870). She allowed her New Jersey property to be sold for non-payment of taxes, asserting that she was being taxed without representation.

1814 Anders Jonas Ångström d. 1874 Swedish physicist, for whom the angstrom (a unit of length equal to 10-10 meters) is named. He showed that hydrogen is present in the Sun's atmosphere (1862).

1655 Johann Christoph Denner d. 1707 German woodwind instrument maker, credited with inventing the clarinet.

1422 William Caxton d. 1491 the first English printer (1475).
From the website ThisDay Trivia

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Drumroll Please!

I have been waiting patiently and checking my mail box ever since Lynn from Lynn's Lovelies let me know she mailed my package. Lynn makes beautiful hand made crocheted items and I knew as soon as I saw a hat and bootie set that I had to have it for Baby Mia. I meet Lynn through Link Referral. This is a site that lets your blog or web site review and be reviewed. It helps with your rankings and drives traffic to your site. I loved Lynn's shop and told her that. We started talking about how much we liked the other's products and.....a trade was born. Rats, she wrapped them so good I have to wait for Mia to see them! Wow, there is even rose petals in the package, smells so good! That is a very nice touch, I don't have to hunt around for wrapping paper and ribbon, it is already done! She even put in a hand made card for me. Thank you Lynn, I did have a blast! In her Etsy Shop Lynn makes and sells a variety of crocheted lovelies for babies, preemies, dolls, and ladies. She also makes crocheted roses, flower and leaf motifs that can be be used in your crafting, scrap booking or sewing projects. Lavender is one of her favorite flowers and she makes Pretty Lavender filled sachets, pincushions, and small pillows that can be custom made in the colors and size you desire. She also has hats, pins, scarves, neck warmers, ornaments and keepsakes. Oh no Daddy, I am tired! Do these make my feet look big? I need a new photographer, Daddy, help! Can I go back to sleep now? Now Mia is already 2 months old but she was born a premmie so is still a newborn, just larger. Lynn had to adapt her pattern to fit Mia as she is over 10 pounds now! We live in the high desert near Lake Tahoe and the summer times can get a bit hot so I asked Lynn to make the baby set big enough to fit Mia this fall and winter. Thank you so much Lynn, trading with you was a blast! To see the soaps I sent Lynn, check out her blog!